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Betsy K. Mathews: ‘Contentious’ may indeed be right word for proposed Amherst housing for undergraduates

To the editor:

“... contentious of the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Thus reads an awkward reassurance offered by Landmark Properties in its Feb. 20 letter to dozens of abbuters of the W.D. Cowls property in the Cushman area of Amherst.

Landmark states that the real estate company will provide on-site property management, “who will be focused on providing a suitable living environment for the residents while being contentious of the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Is this peculiar statement offered in arrogance, baldly asserting at the outset its inevitable relationship with the immediate community and wider town?

Or is it made in ignorance and they do not know the difference between the words conscientious and contentious?

Or is it made in simple carelessness, indicating that they could not be bothered to present their case with professionalism and tact?

Landmark Properties has certainly gotten off on the wrong foot at the very beginning of a process that promises to make the meaning of “contentious” clear to all concerned.

Betsy K. Mathews


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